While you might know some of these basic Florida facts, I'm willing to bet there are more than a few here that may surprise you.
Let's jump right in!
Basic Florida Facts
Florida is the 22nd largest state in the country. Its 67 counties cover 65,755 square miles.
Florida is the 3rd most populated state in the country, and it is the 8th most densely populated state.
Florida is the southernmost state in the continental United States. The southernmost point in the continental U.S. is located in Key West.
The Capital of Florida is Tallahassee.
Florida’s state nickname is The Sunshine State.
The United States Post Office abbreviation for Florida is FL.
The state flower of Florida is the orange blossom.
Florida’s state bird is the northern mockingbird, and the state animal is the Florida panther.
The average temperatures in Florida fluctuate between 65 and 70 in the northern part of the state. Those average temperatures float between 74 and 77 degrees in the southern part of the state.
Florida was considered a British colony from 1763 through 1783.
Florida was admitted to the Union as the 27th state on Monday, March 3, 1845.
Florida is a peninsula, which means that it is surrounded by water on three sides.
The lowest point in Florida is right at sea level along its coastline.
The highest point in Florida is Britton Hill in the Panhandle just south of the Florida-Alabama line. At 345 feet above sea level, this is the lowest high point of any state.
Florida is the only state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World,” Florida is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Legoland, and Busch Gardens.
Some of the major industries that contribute to the Florida economy include tourism, agriculture, aerospace, manufacturing, and information technology.
Florida was discovered by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who named the area “La Florida” after Pascua Florida, the Spanish Feast of the Flowers, which is also known as Easter.
Florida is home to 175 state parks, 37 state forests, 12 national parks or preserves, three national forests, and one national scenic trail.
70% of the nation’s oranges come from Florida, as well as 40% of the country’s orange juice.
Florida has 1,197 miles of coastline and 825 miles of beautiful beaches.
Florida is also home to more than 7,700 lakes, 11,000 miles of rivers, and more than 700 freshwater springs.
The St. Johns River is the largest river in the state of Florida, and it is unique because it flows from south to north.
Some endangered species that have protected habitats in Florida include bald eagles, West Indian manatees, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, Florida panthers, humpback whales, Key deer, whooping cranes, and Gulf sturgeon.
Since opening in 1971, Walt Disney World has been the largest and most-visited theme park in the world.
St. Augustine, Florida was settled in 1565, making it the country’s oldest city, or more specifically, the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the contiguous United States.
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine is the oldest masonry fort still standing in the United States.
Florida has been hosting Major League Baseball teams for Spring Training for more than 100 years.
There are currently 15 teams that make their Spring Training homes in Florida.
Florida has 26 officially designated scenic highways.
Pelican Island was the country’s very first national wildlife refuge.
Florida has more golf courses than any other state.
Florida is also the home of the World Golf Hall of Fame, which is located in St. Augustine.
Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida, as well as the largest freshwater lake located completely within the United States. (Two larger lakes share a coastline with Canada.)
Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida.
Holy Cow! Is That Really True?
Florida leads the entire nation in toll roads, bridges, and golf courses.
Florida produces more tomatoes, strawberries, sugar, and watermelons than any other state.
The Florida Everglades is the only natural habitat in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist in the same environment.
At a total size of 11.5 million acres, The Florida Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country.
No matter where you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles from a beach.
More than 45,000 tourists visit Walt Disney World in Orlando every single day. That works out to an annual attendance number up around 17 million people.
Every day, more than 1,000 new people make the move to Florida.
Seven of the world’s 10 most-visited theme parks are located in Florida.
The first ATM specifically for rollerbladers was set up in Miami in 1996.
Florida is known as the lightning capital of the United States.
Florida also leads the nation in average precipitation.
Florida has more than 9,200 miles of hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails, as well as more than 4,000 miles of paddling trails.
More than 900 fishing world records were set in Florida, which is more than any other state or country in the entire world.
Florida might be home to better clam chowder than New England. Tony's Seafood in Cedar Key took first place at the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, R.I. in 2009, 2010, and 2011, which landed them in the hall of fame and rendered them ineligible for future competition.
The Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola hosts an annual Mullet Toss where Florida residents stand on the state line and throw dead fish into Alabama.
Brevard County, Florida uses the area code 3-2-1 as a tribute to the Kennedy Space Center countdowns.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo was the country’s very first underwater state park.
Bird watchers can track more than 516 species of birds across the state of Florida.
Crystal River is the only place in North America where it is legal to swim with manatees.
The Great Florida Birding Trail is a statewide network that includes an astounding 510 wildlife viewing sites that are perfect for bird watching.
While he was best known for his circus, John Ringling was an avid collector of European paintings, which are now on display at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.
Florida Southern College in Lakeland boasts the country’s largest collection of buildings by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The world’s first scheduled passenger airline flight happened in Florida from St. Petersburg to Tampa back in 1914.
Florida hosted the first integrated professional baseball game in Daytona Beach. That game featured the legendary Jackie Robinson.
Florida is the only state to have an embassy in Washington, D.C.
In terms of square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city in the contiguous United States.
Sunblock was invented in Miami Beach back in 1944 to protect American soldiers from the sun during World War II.
Pierson, Florida is known as The Fern Capital of the World.
The world’s smallest police station is a phone booth in Carrabelle, Florida.
The number of daily visitors to Orlando is about equal to the entire population of Atlanta.
Mechanical refrigeration was invented in Florida by Dr. John Gorrie back in 1851.
Seffner, Florida was the home of Goliath, who is credited as being the largest tortoise the world has ever seen.
The largest parade of food trucks on record happened when 121 food trucks spent two days making their way through Tampa.
The largest parade of golf carts took place in September 2005 in The Villages, FL with 3,321 carts participating. Residents tried to break their own record in 2010 but “only” 3,124 showed up that year.
According to some estimates, there is more than 2 trillion dollars worth of lost treasure in all of the sunken ships within 60 miles off the coast of Florida.